Plan to look after yourself and your loved ones for at least 3 day or more
Many disasters will affect essential services and possibly disrupt your ability to travel or communicate with each other. You may be confined to your home, or forced to evacuate your neighbourhood. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, emergency services will not be able to get help to everyone as quickly as needed.
This is when you are likely to be most vulnerable. So it is important to plan to look after yourself and your loved ones for at least three days or more in the event of a disaster.
Get your family or household together and agree on a plan. A functional emergency plan helps alleviate fears about potential disasters, and can help you respond safely and quickly when a disaster happens. You can get a copy of a household emergency plan and checklist from your local council, or download your printable Household Emergency Plan template.
A household emergency plan will help you work out:
- What you will each do in the event of disasters such as an earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, flood or storm.
- How and where you will meet up during and after a disaster.
- Where to store emergency survival items and who will be responsible for maintaining supplies.
- What you will each need to have in your getaway kits and where to keep them.
- What you need to do for members of the household, family or community with a disability or special requirement.
- What you will need to do for your pets, domestic animals or livestock.
- How and when to turn off the water, electricity and gas at the main switches in your home or business.
Turn off gas only if you suspect a leak, or if you are instructed to do so by authorities. If you turn the gas off you will need a professional to turn it back on and it may take them weeks to respond after an event.
- What local radio stations to tune in to for civil defence information during an event.
- How to contact your local council’s civil defence emergency management office for assistance during an emergency.
- If life or property is threatened, always dial 111.
Ask the emergency management staff at your local council about your community’s civil defence warning system, and the location of civil defence or public shelters. Check your council website for information on local civil defence arrangements.
It is also useful to learn first aid and how to deal with small fires.
Talking to children about disasters
Parents and caregivers should consider talking to children about the disasters that could happen in your community and what to do to keep safe. This can help to reduce fear and anxiety and helps everyone know how to respond.
Make sure your insurance cover is adequate and up to date and that important documents can easily be gathered if you have to evacuate.